Human Trafficking and Slavery Compensation Claims
Sadly, nearly two centuries after slavery started to be abolished, vulnerable people are still entrapped by enforced labour, criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
The Home Office estimates around 13,000 victims in the UK, but with slavery a clandestine ‘business’, no-one can be sure. Certainly, only a fraction of these victims are being reached and liberated.
Men, women and children are tricked into paying for passage to the UK for a better life. Perhaps in their home countries, there is war, unrest, poverty or limited opportunity. These people have come from all over the world, including Romania, Albania, Nigeria, and Vietnam. Once here, under threat of violence, they are forced into prostitution, debt bondage, forced labour for little or no pay, or forced to commit criminal acts such as pickpocketing and running drugs. But slavery victims are not just refugees from overseas: in 2013, 90 UK nationals suffered the same fate.
People who have fallen prey to this sort of exploitation experience verbal, physical and sexual abuse, enforced labour, starvation, and loss of liberty. Often, they are given drugs to keep them compliant and dependent on their captors. Even after they are liberated, they can suffer post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and long-term physical symptoms.
What is being done about it?
Thanks to campaigning and new legislation, such as the Modern Slavery Act (2015), perpetrators – as well as corporations who turn a blind eye to slavery in their supply chain – are now being brought to justice.
If you suspect slavery is happening, report it to
- the police on 999 or 101
- CrimestoppersCrimestoppers on 0800 555 111
- a dedicated 24-hour helpline on 0800 0121 700
- or online at https://modernslavery.co.uk/contact.html
To ensure their safety and yours, it is important that you don’t try to let the victim(s) know that you have reported it, or confront the traffickers.
What can victims do?
For immediate help, victims can seek refuge and support from a number of charities and authorities. There is a useful list of sources of help here: https://modernslavery.co.uk/need-help.html
Once identified and freed, victims do have a basic level of initial support from the government, but they can also turn to civil law to bring a claim for compensation for what they have suffered. This is the first step in taking back control from their abusers, bringing them to justice, and moving on with rebuilding their lives.
What benefits can compensation bring?
Compensation aims to restore the victim’s life to the standard it would have been had the wrongs not been suffered. Damages awarded can help a victim start afresh, access education or retraining, medical treatment and therapy.
What sort of legal specialists can help with my case?
Victims need a blend of advice from specialists in many different areas of law. The unique set of issues they face means that they could need some or all of the following:
- Personal injury
- Criminal law
- Public law
IBB Claims is part of a full-service law firm that offers a complete range of services to personal clients.
What are slavery and trafficking reparation orders?
When the court brings a criminal prosecution against a trafficker and the trafficker is convicted, the court will confiscate assets gained through profits of the crime. This can be used to compensate victims, and is given priority over any fines that are also imposed. Even if this sum does not fully compensate victims for their suffering, a solicitor specialising in supporting those who have been abused will be able to advise on bringing an additional civil claim.
How can I fund a compensation claim for human trafficking or slavery?
Victims of trafficking can bring a claim without paying up-front, and they won’t run the risk of having to cover the defendant’s costs if their claim is unsuccessful.
There is also a provision for legal aid for civil claims on behalf of victims of trafficking, slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour, so this may well be an option.
Who do I speak to in order to find out more?
If you have been subject to slavery or human trafficking contact our team of specialist compensation solicitors can provide help and advice, seeking to help you beyond the law. Our personal injury specialists take a compassionate and caring approach to all claims. Contact us on 0333 123 9099. Alternatively, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form.